Jesus & the Neo-Deists
Sweden’s New Civil Church Is Not an Icon of Christ but a Mirror of Man
by Folke T. Olofsson
Three years before his death in 1733, the English philosopher Matthew Tindal, one of the most important and radical English deists, published Christianity as Old as the Creation. It was certainly not the first of its kind. Already in 1669 the Irish philosopher John Toland had published a work with the provoking title Christianity Not Mysterious. The conviction brought to the fore in these books was that the Christian faith had no evidence not already to be found in the natural mind and that, therefore, every kind of revelation was unnecessary and even unjust, since it was not given to the millions who did not know of it. As for Jesus, he did not perform miracles; all he wanted was to institute a society for the promotion and practice of virtue.
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Folke T. Olofsson is docent of theological and ideological studies at Uppsala University, and is rector of Rasbo parish in the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden. He is a contributing editor of Touchstone.
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